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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Whither Elmo?

My daughter is well past Sesame Street age, although she spent a year (from 20 months to 32 months) carrying a stuffed Elmo everywhere. But given the news that the man who created Elmo, Kevin Clash, has resigned from the show in the wake of two separate allegations of child sexual abuse, a question:

Can Elmo survive as a character? Sesame Street producers insist he can, that other puppeteers are trained to do the character and that "Elmo is bigger than any one person." But can parents separate Elmo the character from the person who played him, given how much attention Clash himself has received? And there are two aspects to this question. First, will parents allow their kids to like, watch, and play with Elmo? Second, what do the show and parents do with the fact that most of the 2013-14 season (the show's 44th) has been taped, meaning Clash will be playing Elmo well into 2014?

Posted by Howard Wasserman on November 20, 2012 at 08:37 PM in Culture, Current Affairs, Howard Wasserman | Permalink


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I believe that Elmo can absolutely survive as a character. I agree that he is bigger than any one person who plays him. It may be different if he wasn't a puppet and simply a human character played by an actor. But I think since he's a puppet, parents will easily forget with the chaos of parenthood and not associate the character with the person that played him. Also, I am willing to bet that not a large number of parents even know this news. I didn't and I'm a parent.

Posted by: Mehr S | Jan 30, 2013 4:36:39 PM

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